Review – Crime at Christmas

Posted December 31, 2021 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Crime at Christmas by C.H.B. KitchinCrime at Christmas, C.H.B. Kitchin

I got this book from my advent “calendar” and thought, well, I’d better crack on with this one since it’s seasonal! Again, an author I knew nothing about before, though this one is set in Britain. The narrator is a rather neurotic young man who has had a previous brush with the police after the murder of his aunt, and who is consequently rather overset when he finds a dead body on Christmas morning, and then another a day later. Well, you can’t blame him, exactly, but his narration is rather waffly, and he’s rather self-absorbed.

There is some rather good stuff here, all the same, with a character who manages to be both sympathetic and sinister. The ramblings of the narrator start to make the plot clear once both corpses are finally on screen (so to speak), and it trundles along to a dramatic conclusion with a final traditional exposition by the detective, followed by a confession and a final dramatic moment…

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there but then has a really weird coda, with a dialogue involving the reader and the main character. It’s more than a bit odd.

Anyway, the plot isn’t too unusual or sensationally surprising in a crime novel of the period, with of course a weird privileged position for the narrator in the detective’s investigation that makes no real sense (although the detective has the sense not to trust him too far and has his calls tapped — good call). I read it in a day, so though I sound lukewarm, for someone who’s interested in reading crime fiction of that period it’s an interesting one.

Rating: 3/5

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